"You’ve been doing really well on your smoking cessation program. It’s been a tough few weeks but you’ve managed to stay focused and overcome your nicotine cravings. You finally think you’ve cracked it but then on a night out, your mates head to the smoking area and rather than stay alone, you follow them outside.
If you were sober in this scenario, while it could still be really tricky, your self-control would probably kick in and you’d go and get a round of drinks in, or find another way to remove yourself from the situation. But since you’ve already had a few and you’re feeling a bit tipsy, those rational thoughts seem to be fading into the background. That’s because consuming alcohol, even in moderate amounts, can have a significant effect on your cognitive behaviour and mental health.
Although alcohol acts as a depressant, shortly after having a drink, levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine increase in the brain. Elevated norepinephrine is associated with impulsivity and arousal, meaning there’s a higher risk you’re swayed by the offer of a cigarette as you won’t be thinking about the consequences or the risk factors.
In addition, when you drink, activity in an area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex decreases. That’s the region responsible for rational thinking and decision making. So, if that’s being dampened, it’s easy to see how lighting up might not seem like such a bad idea in that particular moment in time."
Bottom line? Drinking alcohol when quitting smoking is just not a good idea. Why risk it?
A quit is a terrible thing to lose.